Facebook launched a new story feature in its main app last week, adding a Snapchat-esque feed of ephemeral pictures and videos to the top of the News Feed. But people are apparently less than enthusiastic about using it, which is why Facebook seems to be testing a bit of encouragement for the new feature.
Now, instead of showing a sad, empty feed devoid of stories from any of your friends, Facebook is turning your friends into ghosts who aren’t hip enough to use stories. So, instead of the blank space that used to be there, Facebook will show grayed-out icons of some of your more frequently contacted friends, regardless of whether they’ve ever posted to their Facebook story before.
Facebook Stories now come with ghosts of your friends who don't post facebook stories pic.twitter.com/tlQeoNFXfd— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) April 4, 2017
Tapping on one of the grayed-out portraits informs you that “So-and-so hasn’t posted to his / her story recently,” the word “recently” here doubling as “ever,” at least for most of my contacts, many of whom are likely unaware that this is even a feature that exists or, if they are, why they’d use it over Snapchat or Instagram.
There have been a few reports of ghosted-out stories making their away around Twitter, but it’s unclear right now whether the feature is rolling out across the board or if it’s only to a small percentage of test users for now. At the time of publishing, various members of The Verge staff reported seeing both styles of the feed.
Still, there is a certain irony to be had in Facebook using the haunted spirits of your friends and family members to encourage users to try out the story feature it so shamelessly ripped off from the ghost logo-ed Snapchat.